Lucian The Small

October 8, 2008

The next auction that I have an interest in is at Christies, London, on October 19th.  It is a sale of “Post-War and Contemporary Art“.

The first thing that struck me from the catalog were the Notes attached to Jeff Koon’s “Jim Beam Log Car” (estimate up to $1.6m).  They are the epitome of the Inflated Phrases we have discussed before.

But the real treat comes as early as Lot 9:  “Girl Reading“, Lucian Freud’s portait of Lady Caroline Blackwood.

We are used to Freud’s massive images, but this is a tiny 8″ x 6”.

It still took an age to paint.  Blackwood has described sitting for Freud:  “Not only it is slow, but after six months you can be back to where you started. He not only paints the anguish of your age but he also paints the anguish of his sitters” (C. Blackwood, quoted in S. Aronson, Sophisticated Lady, p. 146).

And the pre-sale estimates for this almost-miniature run from $3.5 million to $5.2 million.

A little larger, at 14″ x 14″, is Freud’s portrait of the other giant, Francis Bacon from 1956/7.  The pre-sale estimate for this historic image goes up to $12.3 million.

The catalog also includes a number of works from young Chinese artists, some basic Warhols, along with works by Gerhard Richter, Lucio Fontana, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami and others.  It will be interesting to see if the “financial meltdown” has any effect on this end of the market.   I don’t expect it to.

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Upwardly Mobile

October 8, 2008

What image comes to mind when you think of “mobile homes” and “trailer parks”?  I bet it is not this:

Or this:

And I bet the $1 million price tag doesn’t match the sterotype, either.

This is the view from the Paradise Cove mobile home park in Malibu, California.  Pretty neat.

These images come from a fascinating Los Angeles Times slide show study of the Malibu areas of Paradise Cove and Point Dume Club. The areas feature many double-wide and manufactured homes.

And why not?  Every home is manufactured, of course.  Take a look at the cookie cutter houses in the average North American suburban sub-division; and prefab houses were a popular option in the early part of the last century.

Trailer parks on the edge of our cities that look like shanty towns should no more influence our overall opinion of mobile homes than say, inner city slums should influence our views of mansions.  There is no intrinsic difference that I can recognize.

So, it comes down — as it always does — to location, money, money, and location.



Ban It And They Will Buy It

October 8, 2008

Forty-four years ago today, LSD was officially made illegal in the US.

The following few years saw a phenomenal growth in the manufacture, sale and use of LSD and it has its supporters even today.

Bad policy makes unenforceable law.